Hull Storey to sell 11 malls

Augusta-based Hull Storey Retail Group LLC, one of the largest owners of retail properties in the Southeast, said Tuesday that it plans to sell 11 shopping malls to an Atlanta real estate firm for $214 million.

The sale of the 3.8 million square feet of retail space to Hendon Properties is expected to close in January and will allow Hull Storey to focus on development and construction business.

"Strategically, we think this positions us for the future," managing partner Jim Hull said.

The sale will leave Hull Storey with 6.5 million square feet of retail space - including six malls - in Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas and Texas.

All on-site employees at the 11 malls will become employees of Hendon Properties, but the sale will result in the layoff of 12 at the Augusta home office.

"For the limited in number who are affected, we very much appreciate their service, which is why they will receive one year's salary and health insurance benefits," managing partner Barry Storey said.

After the sale is complete, Hull Storey will employ about 37 people in Augusta and 20 throughout the Southeast.

The properties for sale are Blue Ridge Mall in Hendersonville, N.C.; Columbia Mall in Columbia, Tenn.; Dublin Mall in Dublin, Ga.; Greenwood Mall in Greenwood, S.C.; LaGrange Mall in LaGrange, Ga.; Milledgeville Mall in Milledgeville, Ga.; Twin Rivers Mall in New Bern, N.C.; Prince of Orange Mall in Orangeburg, S.C.; Regency Square Mall in Florence, Ala.; Statesboro Mall in Statesboro, Ga.; and Wilson Mall in Wilson, N.C.

The properties are more management-intensive than Hull Storey's other holdings and are a drag on the company's efforts to focus on new retail development and construction.

"We spend a tremendous amount of time and intense effort on managing those properties," managing partner John Gibson said.

Hendon Properties, whose holdings include North DeKalb Mall in Atlanta, specialize s in redevelopment and property management.

"We are delighted to acquire this well-positioned portfolio of assets, which meets our need for redevelopment," company President Charlie Hendon said in a statement.

Hull Storey said it would change its name to Hull Storey Gibson Companies LLC to reflect its increased focus on retail development and construction.

The company's local projects include the River Commons development next to the North Augusta Lowe's home improvement store and the Merchants Village shopping center in Martinez, which features a newly redeveloped Kroger grocery store.

Hull Storey's Lowe's store under development in Carrollton, Ga., is the 34th it has built since it began in 1993 as Hull/Storey Development LLC.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or